Category: Festivals

Savor: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience June 8-9, 2012

Savor Craft Brew Festival

Savor Craft Brew Festival

There’s a saying in government, that “All politics is local.” To independent brewers, all craft beer is local, or regional. What one part of the country enjoys drinking differs greatly from any other, for the most part, but all are craft beers and are a reflection of their communities. Unfortunately, sometimes beer aficionados never have an opportunity to sample great beers from parts unknown. So much beer, so little time…

So, when a governing body like the Brewers Association (based in Boulder, Colorado) holds a centrally-located beer and food event like the annual “Savor: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience” in Washington D.C., craft beer drinkers everywhere rejoice. And with good reason. Where else do you have an opportunity to sample 100 amazing beers from 50 of the nation’s most dynamic craft beer makers, along with tantalizingly good food – all in the confines of a magnificent structure like Washington D.C.’s National Building Museum? We first learned of the event from the short-lived Discovery Television show, “Brewmasters,” that followed the day-to-day trials of maverick beer maker Sam Caligione, owner of Dogfish Head Brewing in Milton, Delaware. Sam unveiled his Bitches Brew (a tribute to the Miles Davis jazz album) at Savor in 2010. We made a vow that if we ever had a chance to get tickets (this year’s event sold out in about five minutes) we would make it a point to go.

National Building Museum

National Building Museum

Through patience and diligence we scored tickets in that five-minute window of opportunity. We felt like Charlie grabbing the last Golden Ticket after opening the Wonka Bar. Heck, with luck like this I am fully convinced that we need to play the lotto—very soon.

Stone Vertical Epic Salon

Stone Vertical Epic Salon

Savor is a celebration, taste contest and marketing opportunity all wrapped up in one. With around 2000 guests, 50 craft beer makers and scores of media and other beer savvy types all in attendance, the atmosphere can seem a bit daunting. But before we fill our pint glasses, I’d like to talk about a special tasting event that took place prior to the doors opening at 7 p.m. Stone Brewing Company Co-founder Steve Wagner was kind enough to host a Stone Vertical Epic Series tasting event in one of the side rooms of the museum. Wagner talked briefly about Stone Beer and its history while offering generous sample pours of some of Stone’s vintage Vertical Epic beers, including the 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010. To our surprise, each of the beers has stood the test of time. This is due in part to the high alcohol content and bottling, which is something to keep in mind when purchasing limited edition beers that you may want to shelve and enjoy down the road. During the show we chatted with Steve’s wife Laura, who is not only friendly and accommodating, but also enjoys discussing craft beer as much as her husband. After the show she introduced us to Steve. Spending a few moments together talking beer and music, Steve is arguably one of the nicest, most down-to-earth people you could ever meet – and he knows a thing or two about beer.  To listen to any of the salons held during the 2012 Savor event go to CraftBeerRadio.com.

So, then it was on to the main event. Walking down the stairs to the main floor we stopped to get our bearings. Circumnavigating an event of this size takes planning and patience. There’s no way you can ever sample all beers available at each station (plus each food sampling), so the best strategy is to pick and choose among the most interesting beers and seek them out. Also, time is not on your side. The event runs from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., so making the best of those four hours is essential. We enjoyed a good cross section of beer, some good, some very good and some that fell flat in terms of taste and complexity. Every brewer whom we spoke to was very friendly and engaging, and was willing to spend a brief moment or two talking about their product (Sam Caligione, the rock star “mad scientist” of Dogfish Head, was there at the beginning of the event but left some time later in the evening). It should also be noted that each attendee was given a large bottle of Terra Incognita, a special collaboration beer brewed specifically for the event by Boulevard Brewing and Sierra Nevada Brewing. The following is a comprehensive list of the beers we tried. Again, you can’t do them all…so you do what you can:

Rogue Beer & Cheese Pairing Table

Rogue Beer & Cheese Pairing Table

Craft Beer Sampled:

  • B-Craft Black Double IPA    Arcadia Black IPA
  • Sky High Rye   Arcadia Rye Ale
  • Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale    Boulevard Brewing Co. Saison
  • Brooklyn BLAST!    Brooklyn Brewery Pale Ale
  • Bourbon Barrel Fuel    Capitol City Brewing Co. Stout
  • Kalevipoeg    Cigar City Brewing Baltic Porter
  • Barrel Aged Barley Wine Brewery    Coronado Brewing Company Barley Wine
  • Noble Rot Dogfish Head Brewing
  • Head Hunter IPA   Fat Heads Brewery IPA
  • Sorcerer    Fat Heads Brewery Belgian Style Ale
  • Curmudgeon Old Ale  Founders Brewing Company Strong/Old Ale
  • Black Mocha Stout    Highland Brewing Co. Stout
  • Razor Wit     Highland Brewing Co. Witbier
  • Bonnie Lee’s Best Bitter    Magnolia Gastropub & Brewery ESB
  • Kalifornia Kolsch     Magnolia Gastropub & Brewery  Kolsch
  • Double Wit Blackberry    Mother Earth Brewing Witbier
  • Belgo   New Belgium Brewing IPA
  • Tart Lychee   New Belgium Brewing  Wild Ale
  • Believer    Ninkasi Brewing Company Double Red Ale
  • Total Domination IPA    Ninkasi Brewing Company IPA
  • Dirtoir Black Lager    Rogue Ales & Spirits Black Lager
  • Chatoe Rogue Good Chit     Rogue Ales & Spirits Pilsner
  • American IPA     Schlafly IPA
  • 2IPA    Standing Stone Brewing Co.  IPA
  • Noble Stout    Standing Stone Brewing Co. Stout
  • Highway 78 Scotch Ale aged in Scotch Barrels     Stone Brewing Co. Scotch Ale
  • HOP Notch IPA    Uinta Brewing Company IPA
  • Labyrinth     Uinta Brewing Company Style : Black Ale
  • 50 Cat     Vintage 50 Brewery IPA
  • Yazoo Fortuitous      Yazoo Brewing Smoked Sour Ale
  • Yazoo Rye Saison      Yazoo Brewing Saison

It is quite an impressive list. You’d travel a long way and spend a long time trying them all, but we were fortunate to enjoy every last one of them in one evening. By the end of the night our palates could take no more of the onslaught. The beer and food took its toll, in a good way, so we wandered the floor one last time, looked around longingly at all the incredible beer just waiting to be sampled, hoping by some miracle we had room for just one more taste of this or a sample of that. But alas, all good things must come to an end. Savor is all that it’s billed up to be, and more. With any luck we’ll try to make it back here again.

Side note: We also experienced some of the local flavors of D.C. during the Thursday and Friday we were there. The following is a list of some of the beers we enjoyed at several restaurants in the city:

  • Graffiato (Thursday afternoon):  Pork Slap Farmhouse Ale paired with a Burrata and White House pizza
  • District of Pi Pizzeria (Schlafly Brewing Co. tap takeover, late Thursday afternoon): Pumkin Ale, Christmas Ale, Export IPA, Bier de Garde, Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout (our favorite of all the beers we tried that weekend.)
  • Church Key Restaurant (Thursday night):  Allgash Curieux, Backin’ Black IPA, Son Of A Pooch, 16 Mile IPA, Mirror Pond 30, Snack Attack, Jean Ribaut 20, Kujo Nitro, Wookey Jack, Flying Dog Cask Disobedience Abbey Dubbel, Exportation 21

Graffiato BurrataPi Schlafly Tap TakeoverThe Capital
 

South Beach Food & Wine Festival Weekend

Cardozo Hotel

Cardozo Hotel

February is a special time in South Florida for Wanderlushing.  South Beach turns into Mecca for fans of good food, wine and drink as the culinary elite head into town for the annual South Beach Food & Wine Festival.  We consider ourselves lucky to live so close to this event and every year we make our escape to the slight south for this special weekend.

Dilido Beach Club View of Burger Bash

As a change of pace for this year’s event, we decided to head down early Friday to ease our way into the decadent weekend.  After checking into our hotel, the Cardozo, on Ocean Drive, we decided a drink was in order.   We headed to The Betsy Hotel about a block north on Ocean drive.  We grabbed two bar stools at the long wooden bar where we could watch the passers by through the windows facing Ocean Drive.   With glasses of wine in hand we toasted to the beginning of our weekend.  The vibe was chill and the service was good.  Not a bad way to start.

We headed back to our hotel to get ready to go to the Dilido Beach Club at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel where we could watch the Burger Bash going on at the beach and get to sample the Ritz Carlton’s entry.  We ended up getting a table that was right at the edge with a perfect view of the event.  A bottle of Cabernet on the table, lamb and beef sliders on the way and beautiful weather put us in the semi-reality that is the SOBE Food & Wine Festival.  The night wouldn’t be complete without a stop at a dive bar.  We ended up heading to Lost Weekend with plans to go to to Mac’s Club Deuce next but after a pint of Brooklyn Monster it was all we could do to make it back to the hotel.  Note to self:  10% beers at the END of the evening not such a good idea.

 

Grand Tasting Village

Grand Tasting Village

SATURDAY

Come 11 a.m. sharp the doors opened wide for the Grand Tasting Village. It was a warm day, but not terribly uncomfortable. I say this every year we go to the SBW&FF, what possesses people to wear white clothing to an event where red wine will flow like slurred prose from a drunken poet? To each his own, I suppose. With two tents both a football field in length to walk through, it would take several blog entries to give you a fair and apt description of all the wine, food and spirits available over the course of seven hours. However, that said, we would like to pass along some important highlights about some of the subtle changes that have taken place since last year’s event.

 

  • The wine glasses: Gone is the elegant sophistication of the Reidel glass, replaced by a dubious sponsor in Ikea. On a positive note, the glass did come fully assembled. The complimentary first wine pour as we left the hospitality tent was welcome, as usual.
  • The “Swag Bag”: During past festivals bags would be brimming with volumes of coupons, recipes, food samples and even utensils like cutting boards, bowls and small kitchen gadgets you could keep for a few months and then use as cheap Christmas stocking stuffers. Our bags seemed considerably lighter this year, and it seemed like there were less free magazines available as well.
  • The Crowds: Maybe it’s just us, but it looked like there were more people at this year’s event. Maybe they oversold tickets to the Saturday Grand Tasting, or maybe we’re just losing our capacity to handle large crowds (especially tipsy ones), but it was more elbow-to-elbow during the 2012 event. No one was rude or cut in line, but several vendors ran out of their respective items before the tents closed at 5 p.m.
  • The Home Brew: Several intrepid students from Florida International University Cooking & Hospitality school brewed four craft beers as an academic assignment. Come to think of it, if I had a class like that in college I would have never graduated. The American Pale Ale and the IPA we tasted were incredibly bold, complex and refreshing, not overly hoppy or dry. We give them an A+ on their beer-making venture.


"Talking with My Mouth Full" Pairing Event

“Talking with My Mouth Full” Pairing Event

SUNDAY

It was nice to sleep in on Sunday after a full Saturday’s overindulgence. We took a walk over to Starbucks for coffee, orange juice and muffins. We checked out of the Cardozo at 11 a.m. and headed over to the Miami Beach Convention Center where we would be attending a Bank of America Lifestyle food and wine pairing seminar given by Top Chef judge, author of the book Talking With My Mouth Full and Special Projects Director at Food & Wine Magazine, Gail Simmons, along with wine personality Josh Wesson.

Josh Wesson

Josh Wesson

The seminar, slated to begin at 1 p.m., started a little later than expected because of timing issues with a previous event. This didn’t make a lot of people happy, including the Wanderlushes. Punctuality aside, Gail Simmons is the same in person as she is on television, friendly, knowledgeable, outgoing and definitely not afraid to say what’s on her mind. Her partner for this seminar, Josh Wesson, was equally entertaining and made funny remarks throughout the presentation. Each food item was not only delicious, it had an interesting story behind it. The Spanish artichoke and chickpea stew with Chorizo, served with pan con tomate, was influenced by her early college days in Spain; the Quinoa and brown rice bowl with sautéed vegetables and Tahini Dressing; the pork belly with pickled radishes; the Vietnamese shrimp and scallion Pancake with Asian slaw and fried shallots; and for dessert, her mom’s vanilla and plum (peaches substituting for the plum) tart. The wine selection was eclectic; yet paired well with the food. The Zardetto Spumante Rose, The 2010 Clean Slate Mosel Riesling, the 2010 Los Dos Grenache/Syrah, the 2011 Stella Moscato and a thick, yet not cloyingly oversweet, Emilio Hidalgo Pedro Ximenez NV Sherry. The portion sizes were adequate, as were the wine pours. Overall, the It was an hour-long food and wine journey we both thoroughly enjoyed.

Despite the negatives, and they are minor ones at that, the South Beach Wine & Food Festival really is a wine and food lover’s dream. Even if you pace yourself properly (and remember to hydrate frequently), there is no conceivable way you can sample everything available. It is just that big…but in a good way. We will be back next year, SBW&FF.

Jupiter Craft Brewer’s Beer Festival – January 28, 2012

Jupiter Beer Festival

Jupiter Beer Festival

Regardless of what you may think of craft beer, it’s hard not to like what’s going on across America, and the world, for that matter, with regard to the popularity of craft beer.

In our little sparging tank of the world (South Florida) we’re fortunate to experience beer-tasting events like the annual Jupiter Craft Brewer’s Festival, located in Jupiter, Florida. Taking place in the more favorable mild winter temps of January, over 40 craft brewers descend upon Roger Dean Stadium this time of year to ply their wares to the most ardent beer aficionados.

Blue Point Toxic Sludge

Blue Point Toxic Sludge

For the uninitiated, the Jupiter Fest is a large, well-organized and well-attended event that never disappoints. Besides the beer itself, there is always food on hand, along with live music and a “Silent Disco” (don’t ask). True, there were some noticeably absent craft brewers like Flying Dog and Bell’s at this year’s event, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t have more than our fair share of beer choices available. With our event lanyards draped across our chests and plastic steins in hand we proceeded to sip, sample and savor a good amount of some of the finest craft ales, pilsners, stouts and wheat beers the country has to offer.

Crowd Waiting for Funky Buddha Maple Bacon Porter

Crowd Waiting for Funky Buddha Maple Bacon Porter

Several local and state breweries were there as well, including Cigar City, Dogfish Head, Funky Buddha, Stone, and Blue Point. Of these, The Funky Buddha, located in Boca Raton, Florida, by far had the most unique and best-tasting beers of the lot. The Funky Buddha No Crusts (PB & J in a bottle – brilliant!) and Maple Bacon Porter were hands down the most sought-after beers of the event (as judged by the throngs of tipsy festival goers acting like orphans seeking their next bowl of gruel), and went quickly as the kegs were tapped. The one drawback to these events is the limited availability of certain high-demand brews. Several brewers had message boards posted stating when their specialty brews would be put on the public tasting block. We missed out on the Cigar City White Oak Peach IPA early in the afternoon, but were well rewarded with the Funky Buddha offerings later in the day.

After three and a half hours of sampling fine brew, it was time to call it a day. With our stomachs full and a pleasant buzz in our heads, we all headed south to grab a late afternoon bite to eat at Sweetwater Bar & Grill, located in Boynton Beach.

Sweetwater

Sweetwater Bar & Grill

Sweetwater is a charming bar and eatery that boasts an excellent beer and drink menu while serving up some amazing food. Among the most notable items were the scallops on the half shell special topped with a topping similar to dynamite you would find on some sushi dishes; tangy, sweet chicken wings; mini burgers and fries; belgium battered octopus, and Korean beef soft tacos that were to die for.

We will definitely keep Sweetwater Bar & Grill in mind during our next adventure on the Wanderlushes highway.

EPCOT Food & Wine Festival: Culinary Demo & Taste, Shake & Indulge Grand Marnier seminar

Food & Wine Festival
Culinary Demo:  Peng Looi – August Moon
Taste, Shake & Indulge Grand Marnier seminar at Le Bistro

It is raining. It is windy. Our shoes are soaked – soaked to the point that our feet go squish squish squish with every wet step we take. We’re in Florida (Lake Buena Vista, to be exact), so rain is not an aberration. But to us Wanderlushes, we always expect glorious, “wish you were here” postcard, chamber of commerce weather – and certainly not during the weekend of the EPCOT Food & Wine Festival, one of the Grand Slam events in the Wanderlush events tour. But let’s back up for just a moment.

Fisherman's Stew

Fisherman's Stew

Walt Disney World Dolphin

Walt Disney World Dolphin

Our situation couldn’t have been any better upon arriving Friday afternoon. We checked into our hotel, The Dolphin (located steps away from Disney’s Boardwalk), got settled and headed over to the park to taste some incredible food samples from around the world (the fisherman’s stew from Ireland paired with Guinness Stout was Erin Go Brav-OH Yeah!). On a side note: If you’ve ever spent a weekend experiencing the EPCOT Food & Wine Festival, you know things move at a frenetic pace. So, unlike past years where we exhausted ourselves trying to cram too much EPCOT-ness into a short period of time, we decided one seminar per day on Friday and Saturday was sufficient. In retrospect, this was a wise decision.

Salad of Arugula & Espresso Infused Lamb Loin

Salad of Arugula & Espresso Infused Lamb Loin

Peng Looi

Peng Looi Demo

Our first and only seminar on Friday was a culinary demonstration by Asian cuisine chef Peng Looi, who owns several restaurants in the Mid-South, most notably the critically acclaimed August Moon, located in Louisville, Kentucky. Chef Looi prepared a delicious salad of baby arugula and espresso infused lamb loin hat was out of this world. The lamb was seared to perfection; the pineapple chutney provided a bit of heat, yet was balanced out nicely by the truffled pickled ginger vinagrette  tossed with the arugula. Because fine cuisine is meant to be paired with a great wine, a representative from Chateau Ste. Michele Winery was on hand to give us a brief introduction of the Eroica Riesling, which paired tremendously with Chef Looi’s amazing appetizer.

A breakdown of Friday night, after the seminar: walk, eat, drink, ride Soarin’ (love that ride), eat some more, drink some more; stop, contemplate, ask each other if we’re too full, head back to the hotel, stop at Big River Brewing Company to share an appetizer of crab and cheese dip paired with buttery sliced bread (that we probably didn’t need) and a couple of craft beers; pay the bill, return to our room to freshen up; head over the Kimonos at the Swan Hotel, drink more wine we don’t need, listen to drunk people sing karaoke (a few could actually sing), call it a night, then make our way back to the hotel room and crash.

Grilled Lamb Chop

Grilled Lamb Chop from Australia

Saturday was a complete rainout. A large, rainy system passed over the entire state of Florida and didn’t stop the entire day. We grabbed our umbrellas and ventured out late in the morning. It was downright nasty out (a little Seattle or San Francisco paired with London, in terms of rain), but the heartiest of souls don’t let a little bit of rain and wind deter them from enjoying their vacation, and neither would we. We slogged our way to the park and enjoyed more great food and wine/beer samples meandering through the world showcase, though enjoying it took a little more effort as we clutched our umbrellas throughout the day.

Grand Marnier Tasting

Grand Marnier Tasting

At 2:30 Saturday we headed over to Le Bistro Restaurant in France to attend the Taste, Shake & Indulge Grand Marnier tasting. I am not a huge Grand Marnier drinker, but being the curious Wanderlush that I am, I was looking forward to the event. Once seated, our hostess gave us a brief but fascinating history lesson about this world-renowned liqueur. Then it was time to taste. The first was the Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge (red ribbon), which is easily the most recognizable liqueur in the Grand Marnier family. Besides the strong alcohol notes, the tangerine peel and vanilla are unmistakable in the Cordon Rouge. Next was the 100, a more limited release version of Grand Marnier most people have never tried because of its higher price tag. The 100 was remarkably smooth, with less of an alcoholic taste and more citrus on the nose and palate.

Crepes Suzette

Making Crepes Suzette

The third and final Grand Marnier, le piece de resistance, was the 150. This is Grand Marnier’s premier liqueur. It is made with up to 50 year old cognacs and is unquestionably the smoothest of the three with rounded spices. Throw out the recipe book – you drink the 150 neat, preferably at room temperature, in a large snifter, sitting comfortably by a roaring fire as you read Voltaire or Sartre (cigar and smoking jacket optional). After the tasting, waiters prepared crepes tableside. I have never seen crepes prepared in this manner, though we were all somewhat baffled when waiters emerged from the kitchen with plates of freshly prepared crepes. Huh? Oh well, Garcon’s flaming crepe display was entertaining, so we fully understood preparing them this way for the sake of timing.

The Final Product

The Final Product

All in all, this year’s EPCOT Food & Wine Festival was enjoyable. Wet, but enjoyable. Kim and I enjoy the event every year, rain or shine – though we hope for more shine than rain. Cheers!

10th Annual South Beach Food & Wine Festival

SOBE 2011 Wine & Food Festival

SOBE 2011 Wine & Food Festival

If you’re one of the many fortunate souls who find themselves in South Florida in the waning days of February, you’re not only grateful for the weather (beautiful), you are also fortunate to be situated in the food Mecca (for four days at least) located in the epicenter of the culinary festival world: The South Beach Food & Wine Festival.

Which is where we found ourselves the weekend of February 26-27. The SBF&WF has become our February ritual, a “stay-cation” weekend we’ve looked forward to for the past four years. Knowing full and well just how crowded an event like this can be, we drove down to Miami Beach early Saturday morning in hopes of finding suitable parking near our accommodations, the Cardozo Hotel, which is located at 13th and Ocean Drive, just across street from the festival.

Starting the Festival at the Tents

Entering the Tents to Pick Up Glasses

No such luck. We had to double back along Collins and park in a monolithic parking structure between sixth and seventh avenues, a good six blocks from our destination. We parked the car and made the trek along the sun-baked Miami street, checking out many of the designer fashion and schlock stores catering to fat-wallet tourists. We arrived at the hotel but our room wasn’t ready, but the friendly front desk attendant told us she would have our bags put aside until later that day when we were ready to check in. Then, it was on to the show.

We could already taste that first welcoming sample of wine being poured as we received complimentary culinary and wine magazines (to pawn off on family and friends after reading) swag bags (a bit lighter in freebies than last year), wine glasses (Waterford) and, wait for it—no lanyards! Huh? Say that again SBF&WF student greeter? Did you say NO lanyards? We can do with less food, less wine, less anything at this event, except we simply cannot function without our beloved wine lanyards. Events like this make you wish you had four arms, but the wine lanyard, so simple and elegant in its design, an accessory item valued at less than in this writer’s estimation, simply is an indispensable “pseudo limb” for the serious samplers because it frees up your wine glass hand so you can eat, sip, Tweet, update your Facebook status, call your friends and gloat about where you are, what you’re doing, who you saw, who you wish you saw, etc.

Rick Bayless

Rick Bayless

Yeah, we get that it may be rather lame to actually wear the lanyard but it is handy.  Later on in the day we found out that the show planners stopped distributing lanyards due to a widespread design flaw, a fatal defect in which part of the plastic that wraps around the stem could break and thus, cause the would-be wearer to lose precious liquids and/or stain their designer shirt.

But we soldiered on, lanyards or no lanyards. The weather this particular Saturday was quite simply amazing, low 80s, dry and sunny, with a slight breeze coming off the ocean—perfect conditions for eating and drinking to excess. We noticed that similar to years past show planners strategically set up water stations all around the event, with distributors at each one gently reminding everyone to stay hydrated—which we did. Chef Rick Bayless was giving a cooking seminar in the first kitchen station tent located close by the front entrance, so we stopped for a moment to check out what this very talented chef (and Top Chef Masters winner) was preparing for the large, eager audience seated there.

Cosmopolitan Mixologist

Cosmopolitan Mixologist

A first at this year’s event was a cleverly designed two-story Cosmopolitan Lounge set up between tents. On the bottom floor was a small bar where bartenders mixed drinks and a chef prepared burgers and small appetizers. We waited briefly to check out the upstairs patio deck lounge (due to weight restrictions, only six people at a time). After being presented with cool towels we made our way to the second floor where we enjoyed our drinks and took in the incredible 360 degree view of the event, Miami Beach as well as Ocean Drive.

View from Cosmopolitan Deck

View from Cosmopolitan Deck

The rest of the afternoon we leisurely made our way through the Grand Tasting tents (each of which is a football field in length). We both took note and agreed that with so many culinary delights and wines available we would have to rank them in the order of “must try,” “looks interesting” and “if we’re not full and can make room.” Some of the more memorable wines we enjoyed during this year’s event:

Bondi Santi Brunello
Grich Hills Fume Blanc
Rosenblum Monte Rosso Reserve
Wild Horse Unbridled Pinot Noir
Rubicon Blancaneaux

Stone Crabs

Stone Crabs

There is that point when even the heartiest appetites will be filled; when the mere thought of stuffing or cramming another bite-sized morsel into an already full stomach is just unbearable. It’s the point when you can’t tell a Cabernet from a Yellow Cab, or that Pinot Grigio tastes strangely like the Chardonnay we tried two tables down, which oddly mimics the Sauvignon Blanc next to that one, using the same glass we may or may not have sampled a beer with.

Yes, we had reached that point—and then some. To eat or drink anything else at that point (besides the occasional sip of water) would have been a lesson in gluttony we didn’t want to learn. As good as it all is, you have to stop at some point, unfortunately. So, with the sun setting it was time to leave the friendly confines of the Grand Tasting tents and meander through the grassy dunes to make our way back to the hotel. Thanks, South Beach Food & Wine Festival, for putting our food and spirit consumption level to the test—again.

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